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Pork Pies and Plumbing

The holiday apartment was owned and run by a family-run business who make self-proclaimed “world-famous pork pies”. Indeed, the very comprehensive welcome pack included one of their very tasty pork pies, which meant I didn’t have to cook dinner that night! The matriarch of the family had clearly decided to expand the business by turning some of the original workshops in a courtyard behind the shop into holiday lets. The one I stayed in was small, but one of the best-appointed holiday cottages I’ve stayed in.

But it wasn’t all plain sailing. On my second evening there, the toilet flush mechanism broke. Just one of those things, nobody’s fault – but it rendered the loo unusable. I phoned the emergency number from the welcome pack, and within five minutes the manager from the pie shop was there to have a look. He agreed that it was indeed broken, beyond his abilities to mend it, and that he would have to get a plumber round. But it was 6pm already, and the plumber couldn’t get there until the next day. That could have completely spoiled the holiday, as you can’t do without a loo!

Fortunately, the next-door holiday cottage was vacant that night, so the manager gave me the key and showed me where its bathroom was. It was a bit inconvenient, having to pop next door, but fortunately the weather was dry overnight so it wasn’t a very big deal. The next morning there was a knock on the door, and it was a young man in a butcher’s apron. He was the owner’s son, and had been sent round by his mother to apologise profusely, to keep me updated on the whereabouts of the promised plumber, and to offer me a selection of pork pies and pasties to compensate for the inconvenience! I’ve been back home for several days now, and I still have some of the pork pies left – in fact I had some for lunch today!

I’ve often thought that you can tell how good a business is by how it behaves when something goes wrong. And in this case, they were all over the case – helpful, keeping me informed on progress, and compensating me with delicious hand-made pork pies. I’m just very relieved that the next-door holiday cottage was empty at the critical time, or it could have been a lot worse!